Despite my sick, sick obsession with cupcakes, I am in fact the proud owner of a savoury tooth (except for that sudden unwanted appearance of my sweet tooth earlier this year – boy, are me and the entire population of KitKats glad that’s over). I’m not alone in this club and I know several people who would choose a bag of Lays over a bar of Lindt any day, including Christine: every year for her birthday I try out a new Anti-Cupcake in honour of the occasion (I wish I’d taken pictures of the Thai chicken cupcakes with bright pink glittery cream cheese on top *regret face*).
I have a serious gripe with savoury finger food being needlessly fugly. I mean, sure, it might be a bit of a stretch to make a chicken liver look appealing, but there’s no harm in trying. No-one ever bakes cupcakes and then just shoves a cocktail stick through it and expects people to react with enthusiasm.
Having aired my views before, I’ll shut it and tell you about what I made for Christine’s Retirement Party (I know, right! She doesn’t look old enough to me either – I bet she gypo’d the forms 🙂 ).
So I’ve done Anti-Cupcakes in the past and I felt that this occasion deserved something special… and so I give you…. faux lemon meringue pie!! Ta-Da!! AKA quiche, with mash piped on top. Also a little rosemary garnish, because I thought they looked a bit bland – which, in hindsight, turned out to be good for differentiation from the real mini lemon meringue pies at the party.
I’ve never made mini-quiches before because somehow in my mind they always seemed like a fiddly, poshly-named French excuse for scrambled eggs on pastry, but I was pleasantly surprised. Super easy and they tasted great (except I’m not a huge fan of mash made from powder, but since I don’t eat potatoes anymore – damn you, Dr. Atkins! – its a convenient alternative for moments of Anti-Cupcakery).
For 12 mini anti-lemon meringue pies:
400g shortcrust pastry – just buy it in the freezer aisle. Life is short, especially on a weeknight.
1 slice of ham. Seriously. You could leave it out since it’s such a negligible quantity, if you aren’t into piggy products.
A tiny bit of grated cheddar or crumbled feta – I used both, about 30g of each.
1 egg. A whole one.
1/8 cup of cream. Take your 1/4 cup measure and half-fill it. OK fine, that’s laziness on my part. I did the math – it’s 2 tablespoons.
400g mashed potatoes
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup more cream
So easy-peasy – preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, give a shallow muffin tin (quiche tin? I actually don’t know what it’s called) a blast with nonstick spray.
Roll the shortcrust pastry a tad bit thinner if you, like me, feel cheated when you bite into a pie and it’s 90% dry sad crustiness. Stamp out circles with the same diameter as the muffin tin hollows. I have the perfect sized cookie-cutters, but we can’t all be perfect so use the top edge of a drinking glass as an alternative.
Chop up the ham and evenly distribute the ham and cheese amongst the cups. Whisk the egg and cream together and pour a little in each cup – it will rise a bit, but will also flop a bit on cooling which is okay since the mash will cover it up.
Pop the quiches into the oven for 18 – 20 minutes. While they’re cooling, mix the mash, yolk and extra cream until smooth and beautiful to behold. If you are a fellow greedyguts, sneak in a little more cheese – parmesan works since you won’t see little speckles of colour in the final product. Put it in a piping bag and make little swirls on top of the semi-cooled quiches, then pop them back into the oven until the mash is just a tiny bit tanned. I poked a tiny snippet of rosemary into the mash just before baking again, but this is entirely optional.
Serve at room temperature and don’t tell anyone what’s in it…
Happy Retirement Christine!!
PS: I often find that Google picks up very strange things when I run a search. This is by far the weirdest search result I’ve had today – a play. About quiches, amongst other things).